CBS Uses Heat Wave to Play Up 'Bigger Problems' From Climate Change

Wednesday's CBS Evening News used the recent heat wave in the United States to hype climate change. Mireya Villarreal featured a meteorologist who contended that "this is such a massive problem — and even if we were to completely stop all carbon emissions right now, we would still have a very serious situation. We've passed the tipping point." Villarreal underlined that "2016 is the hottest year ever recorded," and that "this season, fires are more intense; drought conditions are growing; and the arctic sea ice is melting sooner." [video below]

The correspondent first noted that "from Minnesota to California, record-high heat is expected to linger for days." She continued by playing her first clip from Mark Jackson of the National Weather Service, who used a greenhouse comparison to explain the heat wave. After giving her "hottest year ever recorded" line, she also reported the hot weather in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Villarreal then played her second soundbite from Jackson, who asserted that "we've passed the tipping point" with climate change. She cited how the meteorologist "says hotter temperatures are causing bigger problems. This season, fires are more intense; drought conditions are growing; and the arctic sea ice is melting sooner. Ice covers 40 percent less than it did in the late 1970s." She also pointed out that her featured expert predicts that "rising temperatures will last way beyond the summer months."

This isn't the first time in recent months that CBS Evening News has used extreme weather to play up global warming. Back in November 2015, correspondent John Blackstone pointed to a study that claimed that "[e]xtreme heat events are one focus of...[the] report on the impact of climate change around the world. The study found that in 2014, extreme heat waves like the one that gripped South Korea were made worse by human-caused climate change — things such as car emissions, burning coal, and methane gas."

The full transcript of Mireya Villarreal's report from the July 20, 2016 edition of CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: In another important story, there is a dangerous heat wave baking the central United States. By Friday, expect it to — expected to be over a hundred degrees in a number of cities — a hundred and twenty-one in Death Valley, California. Today, President Obama Tweeted a warning to 'stay safe at it heats up.'

Mireya Villarrreal has more on this.

[CBS News Graphic: "Heating Up"]

MIREYA VILLARREAL (voice-over): From Minnesota to California, record-high heat is expected to linger for days. National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Jackson says it's creating a heat dome effect.

MARK JACKSON, NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE: If you picture a greenhouse, sunlight comes into the greenhouse, and — and inside of that glass greenhouse, surfaces are warming up. But that glass does not allow that heat to go back — to leave the greenhouse. And so, you're getting this — it's literally a trapping effect.

VILLARREAL: 2016 is the hottest year ever recorded. Between January and June this year, temperatures were 2.4 degrees higher than in the late 19th century, when they were first recorded. Around the world, Spain, France, and Germany have been sweltering in triple-digit temperatures for days. Baghdad hit a hundred and twenty-three degrees yesterday — forcing the government to declare a holiday to keep people indoors.

JACKSON: This is such a massive problem — and even if we were to completely stop all carbon emissions right now, we would still have a very serious situation. We've passed the tipping point.

VILLARREAL: Jackson says hotter temperatures are causing bigger problems. This season, fires are more intense; drought conditions are growing; and the arctic sea ice is melting sooner. Ice covers 40 percent less than it did in the late 1970s.

This week, families are looking for any way to stay cool this summer.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: My daughter doesn't want the put any clothes on —just her swimsuit.

VILLARREAL: But Jackson says rising temperatures will last way beyond the summer months.

JACKSON: We're shattering records. We're shattering high temperature records.

VILLARREAL (on-camera): Already this summer, there have been several deaths related to the heat. Scott, that's why 16 states so far have issued heat advisories.

PELLEY: Mireya Villarrreal for us tonight — Mireya, thank you.

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